Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Yoga Teacher Training: Pregnant Students

yoga training
Yoga and Pregnancy

By Mike Herman

If you’re pregnant and are already in yoga classes, don’t be afraid to take a break from your current classes or to take a class that is less strenuous. Even if you haven’t gone public with your pregnancy yet, you should have a confidential talk with your instructor let him or her know of your pregnancy, the instructor will then be able to assist you with less strenuous postures or teach you poses that you aren’t doing that will help you.

If you are new to yoga and are looking for a low impact way of exercising the best thing to do is to look for a prenatal yoga class. These classes are designed for pregnant parishioners and you can start them as early in your pregnancy as you want. If you are having morning sickness, you may want to wait until that passes and that usually is the second trimester.

If you have been practicing yoga for a while, you still may find your regular classes seem to be too intense for you. Prenatal yoga training classes may seem too easy, so at this point you will need to decide which class you should take on a given day depending on how you feel.

The solution might also be to include some prenatal poses that have been adapted into your regular routine. If you are in a class, your yoga instructor may help you with special poses developed for pregnancy and your changing body. When you enter the second or third trimester, you may find that prenatal classes are more suited for your body and its changing shape.

If you practice with videotape, you should buy a prenatal video. Some of the recommended first trimester poses are ones that open the hips such as Pigeon, Triangle, Warrior II, and Knee to Ankle.

Second Trimester?

Are you an enthusiast and want to continue to do your Yogic exercise practice while pregnant? Yogic exercise can continue to be practiced during your second trimester with just a few precautions. By the second trimester, your morning sickness should be over and should be feeling better.

If you haven't yet started yoga training yet and wish too - you are in luck, "now is the perfect time to start".  Always contact your health care provider before starting any new exercise program. This is a good rule of thumb even if you aren’t pregnant.

Start with finding a class with an excellent and experienced instructor. Many women enter yoga for the first time during their pregnancy so don't worry that you will be the only new pregnant woman in class. Talk with your friends and get references for a prenatal Yoga instructor.

If you are already practicing yoga, there is no need to give up your classes if you feel strong enough to do them. You can incorporate your own adaptations to the poses when fitting. As your belly grows, the more adaptations you will need to make.

You will want to take any inversion pose to the wall if it poses a risk of falling. If you aren’t comfortable doing these poses, then it’s all right to give your body permission to skip them. One that you can practice safely is the Legs Up the Wall Pose.

If you practice at home, you still might consider going to a prenatal class at least once or twice a week. You will be able to connect with other pregnant women there and know you are not alone in what you are going through.

Some Yoga Poses you will want to avoid during your second trimester or at least adapt them to your growing belly. Deep twists from the belly compress all of your internal organs, including the uterus. You can continue to do the twists, just do them gently from the shoulders instead of the belly.

Of course avoid any jumping or poses that require back bends. Abdominal strengtheners should be avoided, as they need to be softened in preparation for birth. Of course, lying on the belly should not be practiced once you begin to show. It will probably be too uncomfortable for you anyway.

Practice the Birthing Breath, deep inhalations in through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth.

Third Trimester?

In the third trimester of your pregnancy, everything becomes more difficult to do. Tying your shoes, climbing upstairs and even turning over in bed can become a chore. Yoga will become more difficult and you should use more caution but there isn’t any reason you can’t continue to practice yoga up to your due date.

For those that were working and are now on maternity leave, you might just now be finding time to do prenatal yoga. You will still benefit from doing gentle yoga stretches and poses. If you are attending a class, be sure your Yoga teacher knows when you are due. Remember, now is the time to take it easy. It isn’t the time to be an overachiever. Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program or if you have questions about which prenatal yoga is best for you.

If you are listening to your body, it will tell you what you can and can't do. Continue to stay in touch with your body, allow your body to take it easy. It’s a good idea to continue practice breathing, as this will help you during the birth process.

Some poses that are recommended for the third trimester are hip openers such as Pigeon, Warrior II, Triangle, and Knee to Ankle. All four Cat-Cow positions will also help by preparing the baby for birth. They will help the baby get in proper position, head down and it’s back turned toward your belly.

Of course, the same poses you adapted during your second trimester must be practiced with extra caution. No jumping, or twisting from the belly, deep back bends or anything that involves strengthening the abdomen. Goes without saying, there shouldn’t be any poses that need you to lie on your belly.

One of the more important aspects to remember when you are practicing Yoga during pregnancy is to control your breathing and listen to your body. Practicing yoga and listening to your body will help prepare mentally for the birth process. As you learn to be in the moment and quiet your inner body, Yoga will help with that as well as your breathing exercises.

Pregnancy doesn’t have to be an obstacle in your practice of Yoga. In fact, it can be a vital part of your prenatal routine. With poses that are designed for pregnancy and incorporating routines that will help you to have an easier birth. Some routines you will find you are unable to do. If you are unsure of the poses, listen to your body. It will tell you which ones that are too much for you in time in your pregnancy.

So, don’t be afraid to continue your Yoga practice. It may mean that you will have an easier delivery and a faster recovery after birth. It also should make getting into shape after birth easier as well.

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